A Wilted Rose. Georgian democracy limps on far from fragrant

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by KGB_resident, Jan 8, 2008.

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  1. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article3149026.ece

    The elections took place 5 January but the final results are still not declared. Also there are no even preliminary results on referendum about the possibility of joining to NATO. Moreover even mentions about this referendum vanished from Western mass-media. What does it mean?
     
  2. It means he won Sergey. Not the Govt that Russia wants to see and potentially a "problem" particularly with regards to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Made worse by the fact that they are members of NATO PfP and probably will vote for full membership.

    It doesn't help of course that what many see as Russian tinkering and interfering (not very cleverly - the old 1st CD would be disgusted!) by banning wine imports etc will only make matters worse.

    I work with a Russian colleague and he genuinely can't understand why in some places (Baltic States, Poland etc) Rusiia is generaly distrusted and disliked.
     
  3. msr

    msr LE

  4. Economical sanctions are usual tool in international relations now. American blockade of Cuba springs in mind. As for Georgian goods - wine, tea then USA, EU are free to buy them.

    As for Georgian membership in NATO then if Kosovo is declared (and recognised by NATO cuntries) as independent state then immediately independence of Abkhazia and S.Ossetia would be recognised by Russia. From formal point of view Georial could appeal to 5th chapter and what NATO would do in this situation?

    Bearing in mind this (quite possible) scenario it would be unwise for NATO to adopt Georgia.

    As for so called victory of mr.Saakashvili (sorry but I know about Georgian realities much better than many here) then the game is only beginning.

    The leaders of opposition are sure that the elections were rigged and later or sooner they will come to power and will recall Western and American support of mr.Saakashvili.
     
  5. Btw, there is a similar situation in Georgia.

    In the capital - Tbilisi - mr.Saakashvili lost but in remote and rural areas he has better results. Oppositionis consists of (mainly) intellectuals and influence the capital and big cities.

    The victory of pro-Putin United Russia was not so bright in Moscow and other big cities (also turnout here was not so big). But in some places (especially in remote and rural areas, in predominantly Moslem regions) turnout was extremely high and vast majority voted not for intellectuals from Moscow but for local leaders that headed local lists of the United Russia.

    I hear much that Russian elections were rigged but what are concrete irregularities?

    As for access to TV then all parties had a lot of time on TV-1 and TV-2 (the most popular). By contrast the opposition in Georgia hadn't equal access to TV.
     
  6. I hope you meant that in my bold - RESPECT :D

    Sergey on the whole I agree with you. None of this smells of roses and the entire frozen war scenario is a nightmare. However it isn't going to go away and from my personal perspective, we (the West) would have done a lot better if we hadn't raised a middle finger to Russia when she was on her arrse in the '90's.

    The entire region is a p1sspot - on both sides. The ammunition depot explosion in Georgia just after Russian troops left wasn't exactly cool either though ( I don't like coincidences :roll: )

    Maybe we need to get adult about the place although emnities going back Centuries make Northern Ireland look like a simple political problem.
     
  7. Yes, it is a funny misprint - NATO CUNTries instead of countries.

    As for democracy then it is a very mysterious matter. I hate to say it but I regard a possibility that I would vote for mr.Medvedev - a puppet candidate appointed by pres.Putin.

    Recently Russian natioanlists, xenophibes and anti-Semites have launched a campaing (mainly in internet) pointing out that mr.Medvedev is half-Jewish (his mother was Jewish) and his wife is Jewish.

    It is absolutely unfair to judge any person by his ethnical background. It is nothing but ugly racism and xenophonia that I reject.

    Edited to add a comment from Washington

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jan/98806.htm

    Meanwhile, Georgian opposition don't think about surrender

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080108/wl_nm/georgia_election_dc;_ylt=AtAGlytpJ.CqW5qBzqEzbKlm.3QA

    If mr.Saakashvili has according ellectoral commision that he controls) only 51-52% then even minor violations could be decisive.
     
  8. I don't know about this Sergey, I have been hearing it a lot on BBC 'high brow' radio news programs, usually in the context of poking the Bear with a stick because of the Iranian situation. I would also say that in the US recently I was struck by just how sophisticated Georgia's PR was in raising its profile and 'Westerness' with US voters, not just current affairs geeks either.

    I could see Bush signing some sort of 'mutual defence' treaty with Georgia before he goes and Congress and the Senate raising no objection at all.

    Now that would be a hook to snare a New Presidents foriegn policy.
     
  9. Oh, Sergey, I was wondering when you would pop up on this - I suppose you must have been enjoying Orthodox Christmas. I think there has been little attention to the result of the NATO referendum a) because the count has not finished yet and b) because the result is a forgone conclusion (exit polls showed 61% in favour of membership).

    It is hardly surprising that such a negative evaluation of the elections comes from a Murdoch newspaper - for those who don't know, Murdoch bought half of a Georgian TV station belonging to Surrey-based "oligarch" (i.e. premier league crook) Badri Patarkatsishvili, who fell out with Saakashvili, offered to bank roll the opposition and then began using the TV station to promote his own campaign. Unfortunately, Patarkatsishvili was caught in a sting operation offering a senior Georgian Interior Ministry official 100million dollars to defect to the opposition and arrest the interior minister. Badri's TV station them committed hari-kiri and Badri ended up with 6% per cent of the vote having completely discredited himself. It looks like Rupert backed the wrong horse.

    For those who want a properly informed report on the election, I would suggest reading this article by Robert Parsons here.

    He is basically right in saying that the opposition are as much to blame as Saakashvili for the failings of Georgian democracy - they spent years fannying around splitting up and reforming, only to form an extremely weak coalition of minor parties when Badri decided to open his chequebook.
     
  10. You are quite right. Tomorrow is the first working day in Russia.

    These so called 'exit polls' were 'conducted' by state-run (read Saakashvili controlled) TV. Their results were predefined. Still there are no mention about even preliminary results.

    That was vandalised by so called 'police'. The TV station was not only closed but expensive hadware destroyed. 7 December Imedi-TV was allowed to reopen but 7 weeks later TV journalists stopped brodcasting because of pressure of the authorities.

    A candidate for presidency intends to use his TV station to promote his own campaign. Such a crime. By contrast mr.Saakashvili in fact privatised state-run TV and it is of course absolutely democratic.

    I don't like these tycoons including mr.Patarkatsishvili. So let's forget about him.

    As for elections then Russian TV showed representative of the opposition showed (in central electoral commision of Georgia) a protocol compiled in one of polling station in Tbilisi. According to it Saakashvili got 99 votes but in final account of the central electoral commision Saakashvili got 526 votes on the same polling station.



    And who has paid for the helicopter? Have other candidates ability to use helicopters?
     


  11. Sergey, without wishing to get into a quote war, the exit poll merely reflects what countless polls by every organization under the sun has shown in recent years - the majority of Georgians have no problem with NATO members . Also, the organizations conducting the exit poll are entirely reputable, regardless of who commissioned them.

    As for Imedi, the chronology is this:

    November
    Imedi broadcasts untrue report that riot police are planning to raid cathedral;
    Imedi raided by police, government says Badri using TV station to stir unrest;
    International community says no he isn't, put Imedi back on;
    December
    Imedi resumes broadcasts;
    Badri caught on tape saying "I'm going to use my TV station to stir up unrest after the election so Mr Senior Policeman, will you accept 100m dollars to defect from the government and arrest them"
    Imedi stops broadcasts as journalists walk out in disgust (note that unlike after the raid in Nov, there has been no peep from NewsCorp about this shut down, which is entirely voluntary - I suspect Badri and Rupert are now having a major falling out);
    Badri says "Yeah, I did say all that stuff, but um, it was like, out of context, you know, when I said coup...";
    January
    No-one votes for Badri because he has shown his true colours.


    Now don't forget that Berezovskiy was exiled from Russia for doing exactly what Badri has been trying to do - and no, let's not forget Badri because he is key to the whole thing: he explicitly instigated the November rallies which led to the early election. Why, one wonders, could he not wait a few more months for the scheduled election. Maybe it is because he was well aware that the opposition was simply not strong enough to win a proper election.
     
  12. However, check any western news source - no one mention about NATO referendum in Georgia. Count 2+2 and you would come to a conclusion that the majority voted against membership in NATO.

    As for 'reputable' organisations then Russian TV mentioned Ukrainian pollsters that claimed that mr.Saakashvili hasn't clear majority, moreover his result is lower that one by the leader of Georgian opposition.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7177762.stm

    Who is Salome Zurabishvili? She is French citizen, former ambassador of France to Georgia. She adopted Georgian citizenship and was foreign minister in the Governmet led by mr.Saakashvili. But as she saw corruption in the government then she resigned and joined the opposition.

    In interview to France Presse Salome Zurabishvili said that Western estimates of Georian elections as free and fair are insulting to the people
    of Georgia.

    I tried to find English quote but only BBC-Russian mentioned this claim made by the former French diplomat.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/international/newsid_7177000/7177712.stm

    Btw, there is a big difference in coverage of Georgian election between BBC-English and BBC-Russian. Russian section must take into account that Russian mass media present full picture while western ones select information.

    I repeat I don't like Badri. So I would not like to defend him in any way. But there is such thing as 'freedom of speech'. If Western TV would be raided after every 'untrue' report then I suspect that all TV stations would be closed. What authorities should do? Fill a comlain to court and after fair trial TV station, its editor would be fined. It is a legal procedure. Instead of this democratic approach mr.Saakashvili send police to crush TV station. Is it a democracy?

    And has opposition candidates equal access to TV? No of course. In fact mr.Saakashvili monopolised state-run TV. So Georgian elections are too far from international standards.
     
  13. Another famous Georgian (Stalin) said about elections: it doesn't matter who votes, what matters is who counts the votes.
     
  14. Exactly. Moreover if some votes are counted several times

    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080109/95788985.html

     
  15. New twist. Likely English-language news-sources would ignore it but according to

    http://www.fr-online.de/in_und_ausland/politik/aktuell/?em_cnt=1269374&sid=e716c1e349eeca7fccad96d917b26e9f